More than 60,000 concerned parents believe that regulators in Europe should intervene in the popular video app TikTok because it does not do enough to ensure the mostly young users’ safety.
That says the Research Market Information Foundation (SOMI), which represents these parents.
According to SOMI, concerns about the Chinese platform among parents are more significant than ever after another deadly incident involving the so-called “blackout challenge” on TikTok. Also, people let themselves suffocate for as long as possible while filming themselves. Last month, a twelve-year-old American boy was said to have died as a result of that challenge.
Earlier this year, a ten-year-old Italian girl also died from the blackout challenge, her parents said. Children under the age of sixteen do need permission from their parents for a TikTok account, but according to SOMI, the age check is easy to circumvent.
SOMI had already appealed to Dutch and European regulators in January to take stricter action against TikTok. An appeal is now also being made to Ireland, where TikTok has established its European headquarters, to intervene immediately. SOMI states that in addition to the many dangerous challenges on TikTok, the social medium is also a paradise for child predators looking for victims.
Moreover, TikTok violates the privacy rules, according to the foundation that is preparing a collective claim against the app. “The participants come from all over Europe. Anyone who has an account of their own or has children with a TikTok account can participate in the claim”, says Cor Wijtvliet, co-founder of SOMI.
TikTok has said it will do a lot to ensure the safety of young users. For example, accounts of users between thirteen and fifteen years old would be set to private by default, and strangers would not automatically see their videos. Moderators also ban inappropriate videos, and users can report offensive material. According to TikTok, the safety of young users is the number one priority.